Is self-publishing part of your writing plans for 2018? Self-publishing has lured many writers, and indeed, some writers have made the switch to becoming full-time self-publishers.
So what’s on the horizon for 2018?
The biggest challenge for self-publishing authors in 2018 is what they should do about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select program (KDP Select.)
Amazon has over 70% of the ebook market. Other retailers are small potatoes.
Basically you have three choices. You can:
- Go all-in with KDP Select. Many authors choose this route. Write a book, publish on Amazon, and you’re done;
- All wide: Amazon, and everywhere else too… Authors who choose this route hesitate to given Amazon an exclusive on their ebooks, and this is understandable;
- Enroll some ebooks in KDP Select; go wide with everything else.
Although the third option is the sensible choice, when authors choose this option they worry that they could be making more money if they went all-in.
On the other hand, they might not.
In self-publishing, Amazon is king, so will you choose KDP Select, or will you go wide?
KDP Select has problems which worry publishers. The biggest problem is scammers. There’s a limited amount in Amazon’s pot, so when scammers scam, the amount Amazon pays for your KENPC goes down. In short, publishers lose money.
Scammers will keep targeting KDP Select in 2018, that’s a given. From: Amazon has laid out exactly how to game its self-publishing platform:
Amazon’s own statements neatly summarize how its book rankings can be gamed through fake accounts and downloads. They also reveal how convoluted its author payment system for self-published books is to begin with.
The challenge for Amazon is enormous. How does Amazon weed out the scammers, while keeping KDP Select easy to use and hassle-free for publishers?
Let’s look at some tips which will help you to build your self-publishing business in 2018.
1. Publish a blog, and keep blogging: it’s easy and cheap and it works
Yes, I know… I’m a blogging evangelist. The reason I keep urging you to blog is because blogging works. It’s easy book marketing, and you can monetize your blog too.
Last year, the advertising revenue from my blogs was sufficient to cover all of my blogging costs in full, as well as paying for a few new book covers, some paid advertising on Facebook and an updated version of MS Office.
2. Short sells: take advantage of this simple fact
I know I’ve been saying this forever, but in publishing today, SHORT SELLS.
And yes, I’m shouting.
Write and publish short fiction, and nonfiction, and write in series.
3. If your ebook costs less than a cup of coffee, wake up to yourself
Please. Just wake up.
Yesterday I was browsing Amazon, as I usually do once or twice a day, and I was thrilled. Yippee! One of my favorite authors had just published a new book, and it was available NOW. My finger was poised to One-Click the book to my iPad when I looked at the price. And looked again.
I refreshed the browser page, sure that the price was a mistake. Nope. No mistake. A relatively short mystery novel would set me back $15.99 USD. Yep… The Kindle version was $15.99. The hardcover version was less than that. I might have opted for the hardcover, but I didn’t want it. I wanted the Kindle version.
This mystery novel (a simple, short, unpretentious genre mystery of 200 or so pages) was published by a traditional publisher. I knew that without checking, because no self-publishing author would have the nerve to charge $15.99 for a Kindle genre novel.
Just for giggles, I scrolled through this author’s back list. Everything published over the past three years was at the $15.99 price point. Earlier books were $9.99.
Let that be a lesson to you. If you’re publishing an ebook under $2.99, you’re being a fool to yourself. Stop underpricing your ebooks in 2018.
4. Consider yourself a BRAND — and build your brand
You’re a brand.
Digital media mavens are married to their creative work and giving up total control to a publisher is no way to treat the brand that you’ve built. Plus, you’ve built the brand and the platform so it’s only right that you share in success of the book that’s based on your brand.
Everything you do is your brand — everything. Build your brand. Again, enough said. We’ve talked about this before.
5. Pay attention to trends: see what’s hitting Amazon’s Top 100 lists
I’m not a huge fan of the “me too” option, in which authors happily dive in to the latest hot trend in publishing. I write for my own enjoyment first; I’ve had years and years of writing about boring topics for clients, so I freely admit that I won’t slavishly follow publishing trends.
That said, keep an eye on what’s selling, and try to work out why a hot-selling book is selling.
This painless research will subtly inform your self-publishing business, whether you write nonfiction or fiction, and will help you to grow your business.
Onward to 2018. 🙂
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